Courtney Summers' latest novel, Sadie, kept me turning pages way past my bedtime.
In the days that followed the class, as I obsessed over my painting and told everyone who would listen how scared I’d been but how happy I ended up, I realized those three hours were, in many ways, a highly condensed reflection of the writing process.
When we talk about writing, we often talk about setting the scene and evoking a sense of place, giving readers a backdrop to imagine. But what about the way the place affects the characters?
It’s a surprisingly difficult question, isn’t it? Especially given that you’re the one writing the thing, agonizing over every scene, every line of dialogue, and every choice your characters make.
We tend to create our characters from the inside out, but what if we gave it a shot from the outside in?
Last week, Carrie Fountain launched her new novel, I’m Not Missing, at Book People, here in Austin, and I couldn’t wait to hear her talk about her writing process. Fountain started as a poet, and I was particularly curious about how she thought the two disciplines—poetry and prose—worked together.
Storytellers is part of my “Literary Luminary” series, featuring insights on writing and publishing straight from the folks who do it for a living. Storyteller Stephen G. Yanoff is a former insurance company executive from Long Island, New York. He worked in Manhattan for over twenty years and became an acknowledged expert in the field of high-risk insurance. His mystery novels and nonfiction history books have won over twenty-five national and international book awards.
A debut novel from an award-winning poet, I’m Not Missing is a must-read for any teen who’s felt the pain of lost friendship and the challenge of finding herself.
The advice may be well intentioned, but we tend to take it too far, translating it to mean “write only what you know.”
While many tomes, from War and Peace to the last Harry Potterbook, are definitely valuable literature, it’s not their length that makes them great. And, conversely, well-done short stories and novellas can be incredibly powerful.